Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Old School Bread

So back in the day before there was a Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Ingles, (insert grocery store of your choice) every couple miles, people actually had to make their own food and get their ingredients from local farmers or their own gardens.  There is certainly a convenience factor of the quick freezer meal, processed snack, store-bought bread, and being able to pick up your produce (picked "fresh" and flown in from Costa Rica) at your one stop grocery store, but I assure you that that convenience comes with a cost.   
I certainly shop at Walmart and the Kroger down the street- A LOT.  But since my daughter was born (funny how kids can facilitate such changes...), we've been trying to take baby steps to eat real food and live a more sustainable lifestyle.  (Of course as I am writing this I most certainly just consumed an obscene amount of ice cream that I don't think even pregnency justifies.  And I am kind-of craving these Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Candy Bars.  Oh well.  I'm trying....)  During the summer months I try to get as much of my produce as I can from local farmers at the Farmer's Market (my garden was a massive failure this year...), we purchase our milk from a local farmer , and what I'm most excited about right now is that I've started milling my own flour to make bread.
The health benefits of milling your own flour are tremendous!  A lot of vital nutrients are lost in the oxidation process within 24 hours of milling or "cracking" open the wheat kernel.  And a lot of the "good stuff" from the wheat is extracted now from processed bread in order to extend its shelf-life.  But I won't bore you with all those details now.  If you are truly interested you can read more about it on the Bread Beckers website or request this free cd.

I have been interested in milling flour to make our own bread for several months now, but just like any new project it requires some equipment- namely a mill.  I had been talking to a couple friends who were also interested in this "old school" type of bread making so we scoured Craig's list and were able to purchase a used mill.  There are a few different models, but we choose to go with the WonderMill.  So it is my new favorite toy in the kitchen.

You purchase your wheat in bulk to mill into flour.  Before the wheat is milled it can be stored indefinitely.  Mine stays in a bucket with a gamma lid on the floor of my kitchen.

Here's what the wheat looks like before it is milled.  Basically it looks like wheat off the stalk from the wheat field.


And after you mill the flour, (which takes less than a minute in the WonderMill), it comes out as wheat flour that is ready to be made into bread.

Next I knead together all the ingredients: water, honey, olive oil, salt, flour, yeast, gluten, and rice bran extract.

I just use my dough hook attachment with my Kitchen Aid mixer to "knead" the dough.  And then let it rise...

And after you bake your bread not only does your house smell amazing, but you pull these beauties out of the oven.

This is pretty much the only bread we eat now.  We use it for sandwiches, toast, side dish with pasta...

Bread Beckers has a great recipe book  that has recipes for various types of bread, rolls, waffles, cinnamon rolls, muffins, pie crusts, cookies- just about anything that uses flour :)

I've made dinner rolls, pizza crust, and cinnamon rolls- with hard red wheat that I milled into flour.  It was all good.  I want to try some muffins and maybe waffles soon.  I also used the mill to mill corn into cornmeal to make homemade cornbread.  (Chris told me he liked Jiffy better, so I still need to work on my cornbread recipe...)

So the WonderMill is my new toy that I am enjoying.  Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget right now?  Is there something you've been thinking about trying out for awhile now, but just haven't gotten around to it?

Artful Homemaking


  1. This is so cool!! I love that you're milling your own flour. I don't think I'll get that far, but I really need to start shopping local and eating sustainably. We're the large grocery store's dream consumers right now.

  2. That's really neat that you make your own flour. I never knew you could do that, but I can definitely understand why!


  3. Whoa! This is so impressive and it all looks delicious!! Jiffy cornbread is good but I would bet that homemade is better :)

  4. Great post. Not sure I am ready to mill my own flour but I do love to bake bread. I learned when my kids were about 1 & 3rd grade and I needed a cheap Valentines gift for church teachers. We baked french bread. I wrapped in saran wrap and a pretty pink bow. Every loved it and I have been baking bread ever since. Thanks for this post it brought back memories. I have enjoyed visiting your blog.
    Have a Blessed evening and a wonderful Wednesday,

  5. So nice to meet you! I'm following you from the Spotlight from the Hump Day hop!


  6. That bread looks delicious! I make ours too. One day I hope we'll have the space for a grain mill because I'd love to grind my own wheat.

    I am from Tennessee: I noticed your UT plate. I'm going to be following your blog.

    Blessings to you,

  7. Lovely bread! We bought a grain mill over 11 years ago, used, and it's still working great (ours is a k-tec, and it sounds like an airplane taking off!). My most-used kitchen appliance right now is our Vitamix, which we use very regularly for many different things (blending the ingredients in several different recipes, making tooth soap, smoothies, etc.).

    Thanks so much for sharing this at Artful Tuesdays!


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